||Selling your home doesn't have to be expensive.
|Monday, 23 September 2013, 07:03:35 PM|
October is fast approaching and my team at Onepercentguys.com wanted to spread the word that it will soon be Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I have a very good friend who recently overcame breast cancer and although her road to recovery was a very tough battle; she is proud to call herself a survivor. Sadly, there will be those who won't win the fight as 1,950 women in Ontario alone are expected to die of breast cancer this year.
In support I will be participating in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure on Sunday, October 6th. When I think about the estimated 23,000 women and men who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in Canada, I know I am doing something to change those statistics through my participation, fundraising and by learning more about breast cancer. If you'd like to donate directly click here.
Lastly, as the run ends October 6th, I will continue my participation for the whole month launching a Facebook Campaign in hopes others will interact and support the cause. For every Facebook Like on my Facebook page, I will donate $1.00 to the Canadian Cancer Society --up to $1000 in total. No requirement for others to donate. A simple like means you are aware and I am happy to give on your behalf. I hope that all my followers and visitors on Onepercentguys.com will support the campaign and get involve this October.
Visit my Facebook page and like it now to help raise $1000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.
For more info on the Canadian Cancer Society, click here.
|Posted on Fri, 02 Aug 2013, 10:04:09 AM in Ontario Real Estate|
The Toronto real estate market has been interesting to study and it's no different for this summer. Sales have been catching up since February and there is only a 0.7% decrease since last year. Another interesting insight is that the price of properties have been increasing which means if you are selling today you have a great opportunity at making more money than when you first bought it. The price growth was driven by condo townhouse and semi detached homes. Have a look at our infographic and send us a message if you would like a free evaluation on your home today.
|Posted on Fri, 12 Jul 2013, 04:20:24 PM in Home buying tips|
Buying a home is a huge decision and it is not one that people recommend jumping into too quickly. This is because there are many things to consider when buying a home. You want to make sure your kids grow up in a safe and peaceful neighborhood- close to a school. You also look to ensure an easier commute to work, respectable neighbors and a house that feels like home- with the perfect deck, or kitchen or living room for your family. Similarly, there are numerous costs to consider as well. Listed here are ten costs that can be a significant chunk of change, yet sometimes go overlooked when planning a move. A good discount realtor would be happy to explain these costs and make sure that you are fully prepared for the home buying process before you ever go on an open house tour.
Here they are:
1) Mortgage Insurance
Some mortgages are classified as high-ratio mortgages. This means that the bank is taking a substantially higher portion of the risk than the homeowner is. With this being said, if you buy a house with less than 20% down (high-ratio), then the government requires that your mortgage be insured against default. This can range from 0.5%-2.9% of the mortgage amount annually- meaning that it could cost between $60 and $175 a month.
2) Legal Fees
A lawyer is an important part of the home buying process- they make sure that the contract is in good order so that neither party is left with an unfair deal. This could cost up to $2000 dollars.
3) Land Transfer Tax
This is a tax on land transfers that is specific for each province. Alberta and Saskatchewan have no land transfer tax. In Ontario, 0.5% is charged on the first $55,000, 1% on anything between that and $250,000, and 1.5% up to $400,000.
4) Home Inspection
Home inspection is a critical step to take before signing an agreement. A professional home inspector will be able to look for flaws in everything from the foundations to the plumbing; from the roof to the electrical. Prices vary, but the approximate cost on the average-sized home is about $500- a small price to pay for peace of mind.
5) Fire Insurance
Not only will fire insurance allow for the replacement of items and property in the event of a fire, but many mortgage lenders also require it to cover the amount of the mortgage/value of the building. These costs can vary, depending on the size of your home and the value or your property and assets. Make sure to shop around and compare prices before signing a policy.
6) Appraisal Fee
An official appraisal is another thing that many mortgage lenders will require of their clients. This is an official assessment of the value of a home. It will also be beneficial for the buyer to know exactly what the house is worth- especially during the negotiation of the sale price. An appraisal will cost about $300. Sometimes a lender will pay for this in order to get your business.
A survey will ensure that you are buying the ownership of the property that you think you are. You do not want to sign an agreement and find out that your lot is smaller than you thought. Some lenders will also require an official survey. This will cost about $500.
8) Prepaid Property Tax or Utility Bills
If you buy a house in the middle of a month, a seller could ask you to reimburse them for prepaid property taxes or utilities. It is not very common, but be prepared nonetheless.
Maintaining a house is expensive. Personal finance experts recommend that a family set aside 3%-4% of a home’s value each year for maintenance costs. You never know when you will need to replace windows, fix up the roof or replace a broken hot water tank.
10) Move-in/Decorating Costs
Finally, there can be a lot of unforeseen move-in and decorating costs that should be taken into account before buying. An end table here, and a coat of paint there, can really add up. Know exactly how many chairs, garbage cans, area rugs and plumbing fixtures you will need to purchase before you buy a house and start moving.
|Posted on Thu, 20 Jun 2013, 01:58:05 PM in Ontario Real Estate|
Maybe you are looking to buy a home or ready to sell. It's great to have a checklist you can quickly go over when you are ready to buy or sell. If you are selling you can gain more trust with your buyer by letting them know all the costs they will face when buying a house. Especially for first time buyers they will have a hard time knowing what to expect. Many people don't realize that going with a low commission real estate agent will save them thousands and get the best service. Well here is a fun infographic where we fused the popular show "Game of Thrones" with some helpful real estate information. Hope you like it.
|Posted on Mon, 17 Jun 2013, 11:58:48 AM in Ontario Events|
Liberty Village is a beautiful neighborhood with both historic charm and modern revitalization. This is an area bursting with life, energy and flavour. Old factories have been converted into modern lofts, and new buildings have been mixed in with the old-era buildings of yesteryear. Liberty Village is also a wonderful place to search for hidden gems when it comes to cuisine. Here is a look at the five best restaurants in Liberty Village.
1) Caffino Ristorante
photo credit: caffino.ca
1185 King Street West
Caffino is a casual, yet romantic, dining option that is tucked away in an old brick building in Liberty Village. This gem serves authentic Italian food in a child-friendly environment. All are welcome, and the food will impress. Try a Panini for lunch, or pizza, risotto, or a classic pasta dish for dinner. Many have called it their favourite Italian restaurant in the city. What is especially appealing about an afternoon or evening at Caffino Ristorante is its unique ability to be either a perfect romantic, business or family destination.
2) Raaw Japanese Cuisine
171 E Liberty Street
Raaw is a trendy sushi option that will not disappoint. Fresh maki and sushi are a delicious import, when made properly, and this is the place to ensure that it is. Of course, Raaw has some Canadian-preference sushi classics like California rolls and chicken teriyaki, but their menu also contains some unique, or uniquely prepared, dishes that are sometimes hard to come by in Canada. Try the spicy tartar or the beef tataki for an interesting and satisfying taste.
3)Mildred’s Temple Kitchen
85 Hanna Avenue
Known especially for amazing breakfast food, this may be the best place to spend a morning in cuisine heaven; although the menu also contains tasty lunch and dinner options. This is the most expensive destination of the top five, but it may be worth it to treat yourself. The scones and the light and fluffy pancakes are a guaranteed success for the morning, while a delicious burger or sandwich is the perfect lunch/dinner choice. For a fantastic dinner, try the poached eggs on a croissant, with smoked salmon and Béarnaise sauce. Mildred’s Temple Kitchen is a distinctive establishment in its ability to satisfy for every meal.
120 Lynn Williams Street
Williams Landing is a great place to spend the night out. The trendy restaurant is not exactly the right environment for the whole family, but it makes the perfect getaway for two or a night with friends. The beautiful patio will bring you summer joy while you enjoy a light tuna salad or pan seared scallops. The steak, and basically any dessert, are also great choices. Williams Landing will feel comfortable and trendy, without seeming like it’s trying to be.
5) 25 Liberty
25 Liberty Street
25 Liberty may be the most simply named restaurants in Liberty Village, but it is also one of the best. Open most of the day, it is especially delightful and well-known for its brunch menu. For instance, scrambled eggs with brie is a tantalizing new take on a classic brunch. Surprisingly, (different from many more upscale brunch locations) the portion sizes will not leave you wanting more- your taste buds will, but you will be too full to try. This is the perfect place to lounge and enjoy a hearty, mid-day meal.
|Posted on Thu, 16 May 2013, 03:36:34 PM in Home buying tips|
These days, it can be quite exciting to go shopping for a new home, but it can be problematic as well. There are tons of homes on the market, and many of them might have sat dormant or abandoned for a long time before you have come to look at them. You might be surprised at what you find in both a good and a bad way. It's vital that you keep your eyes open and check into certain things when you are considering purchasing a new home.
The very first place that you should look when you are thinking about buying a home is the outside of the home. Not only can you find evidence of larger, internal problems by looking at the outside of the house carefully, but you can also get a good idea of how well the previous owners took care of the home you are interested in. Here are a few things that you should look at when you are outside the home.
- Are there cracks in the walls, siding, bricks, or foundation?
- Is the exterior in disrepair or in need of painting or an overhaul?
- Is the lawn well maintained? This may tell the story of an owner who also took care of the inside of the home.
- Are the flowerbeds well maintained? Are the plants bug infested and chewed up? This can tell of any insect trouble that the house may have.
- Is there trash or eyesores located outside the home? If there are, chances are the owners did the same inside the home even if it has been cleaned up for your viewing.
The outside of the home is important, but the inside of the home is equally important. Remember, the inside is where you will be living, so while you might learn a lot from the outside of the home, you'll probably learn more from what you see inside. Taking a good look inside the house can tell you a lot about the home's past, including problems like leaks and rusting. Consider the following when you do your first walkthrough.
- Are there stains near the bathroom fixtures?
- If any leaks are disclosed, how were they repaired and who repaired them?
- Are there stains or strange discoloration on the walls, ceilings, or floors? Has the current owner tried to paint over them?
- Is there carpeting throughout the home? If so, what is the condition of the floors under the carpeting? When was the carpeting installed?
- What is the condition of the appliances? Are they staying with the home?
- Are there cracks in the walls or floors?
Real Estate Guidance
While knowing what to look for in your new home can get you off to a good start, it's important that you get guidance from a professional at the same time. There are plenty of real estate agents out there for you to choose from, but not all of them are created equally. Make sure that you do your research and find an agent that can work with you towards your specific goals when it comes to finding the home of your dreams. Remember, this is your home and your money, all of which you will have to live with long after the sale. Taking your time now and keeping these things in mind will only help ensure that your path to homeownership is one you can look back on fondly rather than viewing it as a bad nightmare.
About the Author: Missie Morrison has been a moving consultant for over ten years. She maintains a blog at movingestimates.com, on which she tries to help consumers across the country find the best methods of moving and the easiest ways to accomplish such moves.
|Posted on Wed, 15 May 2013, 03:53:57 PM in Ontario Events|
A new survey by BMO suggests that commute times are becoming a factor when deciding on buying a new home for first-time buyers. There are certain factors when deciding on a house like whether the neighborhood is safe or how far the school is from the prospect home.
The highest concern is finding a home in a safe neighborhood with 62% of first-time buyers surveyed. However, the second highest priority for first-time buyers (which has helped boom downtown toronto condos over the last decade) is being near transit according to the BMO survey. Another metric that came from the survey showed that 28% of first-time buyers say that being near a subway or bus lines contributed a great deal to their buying decision. This was actually more than the national average of 19% among other all other buyers. The shorter amount of time to travel to work was also a huge factor. Results showed 34% of first-time buyers were looking for shorter commutes vs. the national average of 28%.
Being near friends and family was less important with 20% vs. the national average of 25%. It was interesting to see (but not surprising) that young professionals with no children wanted to be close to the excitement by living near restaurants with 28% vs. the national average of 23%. It's interesting to see this survey come out and see the hard data behind the trends of first-time buyers. How do you feel you priorities stacked up against the surveys? Did you feel like living near a subway or bus line was a major buying decision?
|Posted on Mon, 06 May 2013, 10:32:51 AM in Ontario Real Estate|
In a bold effort to reduce the wires that tethers real-estate agents to their desktops, Royal LePage Real-estate Services (Royal LePage) announced today that it might create the real estate business's first entirely mobilized, bilingual Marketing Centre.
Canadian agents for the first time may now provide and create all of their English, French and multilingual online homebuyer and merchant marketing programs on both iPads and Android tablets. Royal LePage, Canada's leading real estate company, created the declaration recently in a meeting of The Realty Connections, a group of real-estate companies that control nearly every essential sector within the area.
The president of Royal LePage, Phil Soper, explained that this new technology will free Royal LePage agents from being stuck at their office desks all day long, thus opening up for more onsite real estate dealings and transactions. He also states, that Customers in the real estate marketplace anticipate information right away, not hours or days after their inquiry. The technology goes far beyond just speed; with the fresh system, a Royal LePage agent can now, with the help of his ipad or table, perform virtual showings of any house.
Agents now have the ability to develop all types of marketing materials before the seller. Beyond virtual showings, still photos and postings can be added to the realtors Facebook and Twitter accounts, thus attracting a larger client pool who may be interested in the specific houses that he is marketing; such technology allows Royal LePage agents a step above the competition. This especial toolset gives Royal LePage agents a obvious marketing advantage over their competitors.
English and French language promotion materials and a multilingual interface are featured on the brand new Royal LePage website. The new program centralizes all of an agent's social profiles, cellular, on-line and traditional print advertisements in one region. The Advertising Center additionally features innumerable technological choices for the customary buyer, seller and agent who are looking to buy and sell homes. Slideshows, web ads, characteristic sheets, eCards, eNewsletters and post cards are all advertising tools that can be accessed throughout the new system. Brokers may now disperse their advertising and marketing materials directly towards their social media accounts, such as Myspace and Twitter.
Created in 2005 by real-estate systems company Imprev (which has been around since 1995), the Marketing Centre was started because of an initial demand in Europe for new real estate technologies in Europe. In 1995 the company started Canada's first real-estate website, and in
2000 it supplied the first in-house study, which centered on the deployment of information through active map technologies. Imprev created the first website in Europe to supply the opportunity to clients to locate properties near their favorite local sights, such as the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.The new mobilized variant might function on iPads and Android tablets and is planned for launching to Royal LePage agents this summer.
Renwick Congdon, CEO of Imprev, which created the significantly progressive technologies, notes that the hottest Royal LePage Marketing technology is always ready for the company's system of over 14,500 real-estate professionals in over 600 locations nationwide. Mr. Congdon stated that there is nothing to get, install or update in order to use the program on a daily basis. The technology is always accessible. Last year Imprev became the exclusive property marketing methods business to eclipse the enviable 99.9% stability -- reaching an astonishing 100%, with no surprising problems throughout 2012.
About the Company
Since 1913, Royal LePage is Canadian's leading supplier of technology to real estate brokers. 14,500 real estate professionals are affiliated with the company with six hundred offices across Canada. The company is the only Canadian real estate company to have started (and now operate) its very own charity, a homeless shelter baring the company's name. The charity is to help women and children's homeless shelters and domestic violence education classes throughout Canada. The Royal LePage company trades under TSX-BRE on the stock market.
|Posted on Tue, 23 Apr 2013, 10:33:43 AM in Home selling tips|
Homeowners wishing to sell their homes need to recognize one fact: they are no longer the home team. They are the visitors, no longer in their home area. They have to abide by certain rules in order to sell their home. On the other hand, if homeowners are selling, they also have to buy. What they are looking for as a buyer needs to be what they concentrate on as sellers. If homeowners want to stay where they are, they need only do no research, reject curb appeal as a selling point and do no upgrades.
In order to know how to proceed, homeowners need to know what they don't know. They don't know:
*current selling prices for homes of their type
*how long homes have been listed
*what buyers are prepared to pay
*the difference between list price and sales price
*how much stock moves in an agent's inventory
*who are the buyers and why are they looking
It's about the money. In a buyer's market, no one will go out of their way to find a house attractively submitted if the price isn't attractive. Sellers need to be aware of other homes and if their prices dropped. Did the price drop after months of being listed? Did the price drop because the appraisal was too high? Did the price drop because the purchase of another house depended upon the sale of the present house?
The key to pricing a house attractively is to anticipate commissions, points and fees and to offer the house at less than these. Houses priced $9,000 to $10,000 below the competition raises interest and the seller might go to closing sooner than his competition. The money might not be recouped, but the quick sale allows the homeowner to get his next house.
Once the research is completed and the price settled, it's time to move on to aesthetics. Potential buyers want to pull into a drive and gasp at the wonderland that meats their eyes. To this end, homeowners would do well to prepare that wonderland:
*check other homes for sale to see what curb appeal looks like
*have the driveway refinished, the walkway repaired if cracked and clean out the gutters
*have the lawn professionally done to eliminate debris
*have the trees, hedges and bushes professionally done to eliminate dead or dying flora
*repair and repaint siding and shutters
*wash the windows (buyers seeing puffy clouds in the reflection will be pleased)
*clean the inside within an inch of its life
*have carpet and wood floors professionally cleaned
*put in storage all but the most necessary furniture and clothing. Clutter repels buyers
*vamp the closets and storage spaces to accentuate how much storage is available
*upgrade kitchen appliances and cabinets where necessary
*upgrade bathroom fixtures where necessary
Upgrades aren't about the most expensive walnut cabinetry or the Berber carpet. Upgrades are about making life easier on the homeowner, to-wit:
*a finished basement increases the square footage of a house and can be used as a bedroom, a home gym or an in-law apartment
*if more space is needed, turn the attic into a partial loft
*if a half-bath was sketched in, put it in
*create closets where there is unused space such as underneath the stairwell
*small kitchens can be upgraded by combining appliances and adding an island
*rip out the carpet and put in hardwood floors and textured tile because it's healthier
*upgrade the heating system to radiant heat because it's healthier and will save money on the power bill
*install window treatments that will block the harmful rays of the sun and save on the power bill
Selling in a buyer's market is about the money. Whatever homeowners can do to make the property more attractive will get a better selling price. What the homeowners look for in a property to buy for themselves can be made to work for them in selling their home. Comparisons in price, aesthetics and upgrades will show homeowners how to prepare their homes for sale. However, any real estate agent will tell a homeowner that if they don't absolutely have to sell, then don't. Wait for a buyer's market.
|Posted on Thu, 11 Apr 2013, 01:42:04 PM in Ontario Real Estate|
If you aren’t yet familiar with electronic signatures, you soon will be. E-signatures are appearing everywhere and for good reason. For any business that involves signing documents, electronic signatures will create a great client experience, save tons of paper and will help your transactions run much more smoothly.
Instead of having clients sign lengthy offer contracts in person or sending large documents through the mail, electronically signed documents are delivered and returned via computer. The signature is created in different ways depending on which program you use, but it usually involves creating a user account with a password. Once clients are signed in to the program, they can access their documents from a portal. Clients sign by simply typing in their names or even signing directly on the computer screen.
Electronic signatures are ideal for clients in remote locations, but you can use them in person as well. Clients can sign documents electronically right from your office computer or even with an iPad or other tablet device. Given that the typical home offer contract can run many dozens of pages, it is clear that the convenience and environmental benefits are tremendous.
Electronic signatures are already legal and binding in the United States, thanks to the 2000 Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (E-Sign) Act. In Canada, it is not yet entirely clear where electronic signatures stand legally. That hasn’t stopped realtors in hot housing markets from using e-signatures to save money, time, gas and thousands of trees.
Recently, the Canadian Real Estate Association agreed to allow DocuSign, a leading electronic signature service, to make its program available to its members. This will allow all 105,000 of CREA’s realtor members to obtain signatures on documents, deliver them to all parties, track their progress and store them safely, all via electronic means. In some provinces, regulations still forbid the use of e-signatures, but the Association and other lobbying groups hope this situation will change soon.
The CREA’s DocuSign agreement makes the program available at special reduced prices in both French and English. The program fully integrates with WEBForms, Canada’s leading provider of electronic real estate forms, to ensure the easiest and most convenient transactions possible.
The advantages of electronic signatures go beyond the environmental benefits and client convenience. They can be extremely beneficial to your business as well. E-signatures can help buyers and sellers succeed in a competitive market, where timing is often a crucial factor in making a real estate transaction work. Electronic signatures save enormous amounts of time otherwise spent printing documents and hand-signing them, scanning or delivering them by fax or in person. Every negotiated change to the contract can then be executed electronically. Any realtor who has been through a lengthy negotiation process knows how important saving time is at this stage. Electronic signatures can significantly lower the risk that the transaction will fall apart during protracted negotiations.
Another great advantage to realtors, as well as to home buyers and sellers, is the tracking feature built into electronic signature programs. Realtors can see exactly who has signed a document and when. The program keeps documents stored in the cloud for access by all signatories.
Electronic signatures are the way of the future. The convenience and ease of the transaction, and the environmental benefits, are inarguable. Using e-signatures will impress your clients, make your transactions go more smoothly, and could well lead to more referrals for your business.